Jeremiah 48:1-49:22, 2 Timothy 4:1-22, Psalms 95:1-96:13, Proverbs 26:9-12
Today is the 25th day of October, welcome to the Daily Audio Bible I’m Brian it is wonderful to be here with you today as we take the next step forward in our journey that leads us through the entire Bible in an entire year. Here we are on the 25th day of October. So, we kind of know where we are in the year which gives us a good sense of where we are in the Bible. And specifically, where we are in the Bible is in the book of Jeremiah, at least in the Old Testament, and we will conclude the book of Jeremiah during this week and then move forward from there, but we’re not there yet. Today we’re reading from the New Living Translation. Jeremiah chapter 48 verse 1 through 49 verse 22.
Okay. So, we concluded second Timothy today and by many thought to be the final writings of the apostle Paul. We’re not done with the apostle Paul in the New Testament. We have a couple of smaller letters that we’ll finish up before moving forward away from the apostle Paul, but there is certainly a melancholy that exists in second Timothy. We can hear it in the reading, and we can hear an urgency in the letter. And when we reacquaint ourselves with the idea that Paul is in prison, will be judged, the judgment will be life or death, the judgment is likely to be death, which is what it turned out to be, and that there aren’t a lot of people left around Paul. It’s like he gave his wife for this message and in the end, he was mostly alone. And that is so similar to the way Jesus experienced His last days as well. And Paul gives Timothy some charges just in case they don’t get to see each other again Timothy’s supposed to keep his head, keep a clear mind, be ready to share the gospel regardless of what comes against him, which is an example that Paul had modeled for Timothy. And if this opposition turns in the persecution, then Timothy was to face it without fear. And if the people that Timothy was leading abandoned him in search of somebody else to give them…well…giver their itching ears what they wanted to hear, then Timothy was to keep telling the truth regardless of what happened, to continue to be a pastor to those under his care. And then Paul told Timothy, “as for me”, quoting from second Timothy, “as for me, my life has already been poured out as an offering to God. The time of my death is near. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.” I know that’s a super popular very very famous passage in the Scriptures. It just always feels so melancholy to me when we come by this territory. It is a like a pit in my stomach even as I’m talking about it. I think honestly it just…it’s probably because it doesn’t seem fair. And that’s what it is. If I’m just being honest, it doesn’t seem fair. We have examples like Jesus or example like the apostle Paul who devote themselves to bringing freedom to people who only end up dead, but they ended up alone before they ended up dead. And I’m in no way saying Jesus didn’t rise. But that’s what we do, right? We just skip over that part and get to the resurrection part, not that Jesus actually had to die alone first, not that Paul…yes her received the crown of life that he was looking for. We believe that. But he still had to sit in the dungeon awaiting his own execution first. And for what? To try to help people? That just feels like injustice. Nothing about it looks like victory, which is one of the scandals of the gospel. It’s that you win by losing. You gain life by giving it away. And yet just kind of listening through what Paul has to say through each of his letters what we realize is that Paul is certainly passionate and very forthright and very direct. He’s all of these things indeed. But underneath it all it seems to have been the honor of Paul’s life to serve Jesus, to consider everything that he learned and understood as filthy rags to lose it all in order to attain Christ. Paul had fought the good fight and finished the race. He did everything he could do and kept the faith. This doesn’t seem like victory based on the cultures that we live in, right? Dominance seems like victory. Crushing your opponent seems like victory. And, so, Paul, he’s the one that gets crushed. Jesus gets crushed. This doesn’t seem like victory, which makes us step back and go, what is victory? And then we begin to realize it really is all backwards. It really is an upside-down world, that the truth really is, if we were able to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and love each other as we love ourselves, then we would stand up and be right side right it can, then we would be back to where we were intended to be. We would humble ourselves and know we are not the sovereign and know we are not in control and not even want to be in control, having surrendered control, having surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives. And one of the things that we will notice is that Paul endured. He endured his entire ministry and he endured until the end. He believed what he was saying enough to die for what he was saying and did. He followed the example of Jesus and endured until the end. This idea of enduring is certainly all throughout the writings of the apostle Paul, but it is all throughout the New Testament. It’s so ironic that our Savior endured and that people like the apostle Paul endured. And as we continue to read through the rest of the New Testament, we’re going to find out that we’re being encouraged whether it be by James or Peter or Paul that enduring is an important piece of the equation. And it’s like the one thing that subtly inside of our culture and even inside of our own mindset that we think that we get to avoid because of Jesus. Like somehow Jesus makes everything work together for our good, so that we won’t have to endure what is difficult and hard, and maybe even painful. It’s only that that’s not the story that’s in the Bible. All of these stories include endurance and hardship and difficulty. And none of it is purposeless, it is all about advancing a message forward into humanity that there is a better way. In fact, not just a better way. There is a way at all to do this. We were made in a certain way, a way that prefers the other, a way that loves our neighbor as ourselves, a way that we shoulder each other’s burdens, we endure together. And, so, as we leave second Timothy, like I said we still have a couple short letters from the apostle Paul. So, where not leaving Paul just yet, but we will be within days. So, as we’re considering this life, the life of a person who wrote more of the New Testament that’s been handed down to us than any other author, that endurance actually is a category. And even as I’m sitting here talking about this, I know this, and I still don’t like it. I don’t want to endure. It’s hard. It’s painful, it wears us down. It does all kinds of things that are difficult. Like it challenges pride and every other thing that’s selfish within us when we have to endure something by humbling ourselves and walking through it. And yet this is the story of all of the people in the New Testament. This is the story of church history even. And, so, why would endurance not ever touch us? And why do we act like toddlers when it does? We have it better than any of the people in the New Testament had it and we’re carrying the same story forward with us. And, so, hardship, difficulty, pain, endurance are all part of the story. How we embrace that part of the story makes all of the difference. Has it been an honor to serve Jesus? Are we fortunate to be able to join with Him in His suffering in enduring on behalf of and for the sake of others? Or is this whole religion about what we can get and how quickly we can get it? To honor the idea of this being Paul’s final letter and the melancholy that’s in it, like don’t forget my coat that I loaned to him, don’t forget my papers, try to get here before winter, everybody has abandoned me. We’re going to have to consider endurance. It’s gonna have to be an actual category because it reveals for us where our true allegiance lies. And, so, in honoring Paul as we prepare to leave Paul behind for this particular journey through the Scriptures let’s honor Paul by considering endurance in our own lives and what it means to us and how it is we process that when it comes our way.
Holy Spirit, come. We invite You into that. If…if endurance could be a word lifted from our vocabulary and taken away from the human experience, we’d probably sign up immediately. We would rather not go through hard times. We would rather not go through the disruption of it. And yet, in the Scriptures, we see it is nearly unavoidable and has great purpose. And, so, it’s something that we don’t want to sign up for, but it’s something we have to be willing to follow You into wherever You are going for whatever purpose You are going there. And, so, some things are going to have to change in our hearts. And, so, as we approach this and as we approach what’s coming next in the New Testament, as we continue this journey where endurance becomes more and more a part of the story may we see that. May we see how our forebears endured and how they processed, and may we look at our own lives and see just how well we actually have it. We thank You God for Your love. We thank You Jesus for Your sacrifice. Thank You, Holy Spirit, for Your comfort. Lead us into all truth, we pray. In the name of Jesus, we ask. Amen.
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And that is it for today. I’m Brian I love you and I’ll be waiting for you here tomorrow.
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